After Rape Increase, NYPD Adds 35 to Sex-Crimes Unit

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The New York Police Department is adding 35 investigators to its sex-crimes unit in response to an increase in reported rapes, reports the Wall Street Journal. Chief of Detectives Dermot Shea said he will add 15 investigators to the adult sex-crimes unit in the Special Victims Division, bringing the head count to 129. An additional 20 investigators will aid units investigating child and transit sex crimes. The division, which was criticized last year about its handling of sexual-assault complaints, had been expanding its ranks. In 2018, its adult sex-crimes unit rose to 114 investigators from 74.

The NYPD recorded 150 rapes in January compared with 118 in January of last year. In 2018, the number of reported rapes rose to 1,794 from 1,449 in 2017. Authorities have attributed the increase to the #MeToo movement. Last year the city’s watchdog Department of Investigation said the Special Victims Division had been understaffed for years. In a new lawsuit, two women accused the NYPD of failing to take their sexual-assault complaints seriously. Chief of Crime Control Strategies Lori Pollock said the department would begin CompStat meetings for the Special Victims Division. The NYPD credits the meetings, in which police commanders are grilled by top brass on crime trends, for the citywide crime decline.

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